What’s the Secret to Packing my Classes?

The fitness industry can be a cut-throat business. Instructors not only compete for the best time slots, but they seem to battle for the students as well. I worked for a gym once that gave new instructors 2 months to fill their classes. If they didn’t, the instructor got the boot as well as a strike on their reputation among the locals . That seemed pretty drastic to me, and I was grateful that I was taking over an existing class that already had nice numbers.

Sometimes filling up your class is just a matter of time and patience. Time to get the word out about your amazing-ness, and patience in yourself to learn what students want. That said, there are some tricks to becoming “that instructor”.  You know, the one who seems to turn the newbies into groupies and the bosses into buddies.

I decided to ask a few of my “Rockstar Instructor” friends how they cultivate their following. Here are a few of their tips:

• Become friends with your students. Building a rapport with your students is one of the key aspects of a successful class. Arrive early and greet your students as they come in. Show that you care about them by learning their names and asking about their goals. Pay special attention to new people and help them to feel comfortable. Head to the door after class and give them high-fives while they’re leaving… and make sure to tell them you will see them next time. 

• Interact with your students during class. Have you ever been to a class where the instructor stays up on stage and watches herself (or himself) in the mirror? Don’t be that instructor! First of all, don’t look in the mirror. Turn around and face your students. Hop off of the stage and walk around helping and motivating them. You’re not there to perform. You are there to serve.

• Make the workout challenging and change it up as often as possible.  This seems obvious, but I know instructors who put no time or effort into their classes. Preparation is important. Students know when you’re pulling a class out your behind. Make it fun and interesting, and your students will bring their friends! 

• Be authentic.  Diva instructors create diva students. Kind and loving instructors create kind and loving students. Make sure you create an ego-free atmosphere, one where everyone feels comfortable. Teach everyone in the room, not just the front-row Joes. Smile before, during and after class.

• Offer modifications as well as progressions. If you cater to just the die-hards, you will limit your demographic. Show alternative moves for those who need to slow things down as well as for those who need to go harder. Don’t feel like you need to keep up with the die-hards either. You can show them the moves and then walk around to motivate.

• Connect with students on social media. Not only will this help you get to know your students, but it’s a great way to advertise. Promote your classes. Announce class events (i.e. Wobble before Gobble) Invite friends. Invite students to invite friends. Post after-class photos, and don’t forget to tag your students and your gym. #YourHashtag. Show the world how much fun you all have working out!

GX addicts are loyal to their favorite instructors, and by implementing these tips from some of MY favorite instructors, you will be listed among them.

Thank you @ashley K, Simms G, Monica S, Ilyse S-R, Ria M, Rhonda H, Cristina H S, Chad S, Pat S, Theresa R


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